Friday, September 11, 2009

Movie nights on mall begin Sept. 25 with ‘Star Trek’

“Star Trek” kicks off the fall series of free outdoor movies sponsored by the office of student life.

The first Friday Night Movie, a monthly event that seeks to bring about a relaxed atmosphere where students and the community can share some movie magic, is set for 7:20 p.m. Sept. 25 in the mall.

The movie screening is free for students with district ID; others may attend for $1 or a donation of one can of food for this college’s Food Pantry. Viewers may bring their own chairs.

Previous turnout for the outdoor movies has been estimated at 300 to 600 people at each movie, said Aaron Tavitas, assistant coordinator of student activities. The event is “a way to bring the student body and community together” to enjoy themselves, he said.

Food provided by various student clubs, such as Teaching Academy Program Peers, American Institute of Architecture Students and the Psychology Club, will be sold during the movie.

“Star Trek,” which is the most recent of the official Star Trek canon of movies, is rated PG-13 and runs approximately 127 minutes.

Friday Night Movies scheduled for October and November are “Up” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

For more information, call 486-1300.

By Jason B. Hogan

Chancellor Bruce Leslie stands to receive a deferred compensation payment of a $30,000 annuity Oct. 31 from the Alamo Community College District upon completion of his initial three-year term under provisions in his original employment contract.

The contract covered his employment with the district from Sept. 1, 2006, through Monday. The chancellor began work Nov. 1, 2006.

Chairman Denver McClendon said the $30,000 annuity is meant to be a retention bonus.

“If you have to search for a new chancellor, it can cost $100,000,” McClendon said.

It has been three years since the board of trustees chose Leslie as the succeeding chancellor of the district, following the three-year tenure of Dr. J. Terence Kelly.

During an Aug. 25 special board meeting, trustees approved a review of Leslie’s contract, while in a phone interview Aug. 27, McClendon said he believes they will unanimously approve a new contract for Leslie.

The Ranger reported Leslie’s original contract extension Sept. 11, 2008, after the board renegotiated it to include two additional years ending Aug. 31, 2011.

The 2007-08 budget listed Leslie’s salary at $289,999.92 in the personnel register.

Leslie received a 4 percent increase in his base salary from the board, coinciding with staff raises of the same percentage, after the fiscal year 2009 budget was approved by trustees Aug. 5, 2008.

The contract offered then to Leslie — effective Aug. 28, 2008, through Aug. 31, 2011 — provided a base annual salary of $313,633.84, and any annual increases considered by the board subject to the chancellor’s performance and evaluation.

This contract also allowed for fringe benefits afforded to the chancellor, including a $1,000 per month vehicle allowance, along with a gas card, authorized use of the Plaza Club through a district membership, payment of a term life insurance policy twice the amount of Leslie’s base salary, and an unlimited amount of vacation-day accrual, which will be payable to the chancellor in cash at the conclusion of his employment with the district.

All district administrators are able to receive cash from accrued vacation days following the end of their employment through the district, McClendon said.

According to district policy, however, employees lose any unused vacation days at the end of each fiscal year.

He said because of the chancellor’s leadership “all the colleges are working more in harmony to bring about needed efficiency.”

But the district is currently in the red, and recently, it was announced that it experienced a $7 million shortfall.

McClendon said there are only three sources of revenue the district relies on: state funding, property taxes, and tuition and fees.

“We’re trying to keep tuition as low as possible,” he said. “And we’re trying to hold our tax rate. We have no control over the state.”

McClendon also said Leslie and his staff have implemented various programs directly in line with the charges he was given over the last six to eight months: increase student success, examine the possibility of single joint-level accreditation for the district, and review the costs of textbooks to execute a reduction in those costs.

The new contract remains in negotiation and, presently, resides with the district legal services department.

Evaluation of the contract was supposed to conclude the week of Aug. 31, and McClendon said the board expected to have a tangible contract in hand for Leslie by the end of August.

Leslie was unavailable for comment, although he directed Leo Zuniga, associate vice chancellor of communications, to speak on his behalf.

Zuniga took the questions meant for Leslie but was unable to provide any new information।